The protection of Geographical Indications (GIs) supports producers to define common quality standards while highlighting the geographical origin of food products with specific qualities. Adaptations of quality standards are driven by international competition, new production technologies or environmental change. The purpose of this paper is to analyse the modifications affecting European Union (EU) Protected Designation of Origin-Protected Geographical Indication. It specifically compares the share of amendments in diverse product class, years and countries, illustrates specific cases and identifies the factors explaining the probability to amend product specifications.
Official documents of the DOOR Database provide the material for an analysis of changes in product specifications. They also supply the data for four illustrative cheese cases and a logistic regression of all EU amendments.
Amendments of GI product specifications are very frequent: 17 per cent of all 1,276 EU GIs had at least one amendment. This happens in particular for processed products (42 per cent more often than for unprocessed ones) and specific countries (GIs in Italy are six times, Spain five times and France four times more likely to have an amendment compared to GIs from other EU countries). As illustrated by contrasting cheese amendments, the diverse modifications in the product specifications range from more flexibility and innovation on the one hand to stricter rules for strengthening the product’s identity on the other hand.
For EU and national authorities, GI producers and scholars, this first systematic EU-wide analysis of amendments demonstrates that protected food GIs have to be conceptualised as evolving institutions and not as statically protected food production systems.
This project is supported by funds of the Oesterreichische Nationalbank (Austrian Central Bank, Anniversary Fund, Project Number: 17043). Furthermore, the authors are thankful for the valuable anonymous reviews.
Quiñones Ruiz, X.F., Forster, H., Penker, M., Belletti, G., Marescotti, A., Scaramuzzi, S., Broscha, K., Braito, M. and Altenbuchner, C. (2018), "How are food Geographical Indications evolving? – An analysis of EU GI amendments", British Food Journal, Vol. 120 No. 8, pp. 1876-1887. https://doi.org/10.1108/BFJ-02-2018-0087
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